360° Panoramas by Ed Fink
50th ann. - 2009 UK Press 1
50th ann. - 2009 UK Press 2
50th ann. - 2009 US Press 1
50th ann. - 2009 US Press 2
50th ann. - 2009 Cliff Richard Club
50th ann. - 2009 German Press 1
50th ann. - 2009 German Press 2
50th ann. - 2009 London Exhibition
50th ann. - Johnny  Rogers' Report
50th ann. - 2009 Last Tour Pics 1
50th ann. - 2009 Last Tour Pics 2
50th ann. - 2009 Surf Pics 1
50th ann. - 2009 Surf Pics 2
50th ann. - 2009 Surf Pics 3
50th ann. - 2009 Surf Clear Lake
50th ann. - 2009 Radio/TV Shows
50th ann. - Blackpool Q. Hotel
50th ann. - Cavern Club
50th ann. - Doncaster
50th ann. - Excl. Philly Pics
50th ann. - Holy Rosary P.C.
50th ann. - Nieuwkoop Holland
50th ann. - Liverpool Huyton
50th ann. - Liverpool Ph. Hall
50th ann. - More Liverpool pics
50th ann. -  Radio Merseyside BBC
50th ann. - Rothschild Pavilion USA
50th ann. - Crystal Rock Ballr. USA
50th ann. - Evang. Pressedienst
50th ann. -  Artikel aus Kleve
58th ann. - BHC Lubbock TX
60th ann. - 2019 Int. Press 1
60th ann. - 2019 Int. Press 2
60th ann. - 2019 Int. Press 3
6 CD Buddy Holly Box-Set 2009
Aircraft Accident Report 1959
A new 10'' UK Buddy LP in 2009
A new 10" UK Buddy LP in 2010
A-Z  Buddy Holly & The Crickets
All Tour Dates 1
All Tour Dates 2
All Tour Programmes
Ariel Cyclone
Augury Of Buddy's Death
Austrian Buddy Tribute
Beatles' Letter To The Crickets
Beechcraft Fragments
Berlin 'That'll Be The Day'
Beverly Hills Auction 2010
Boudewijn Büch + Buddy
Buddy And Beyond Show
Buddy And The Cruisers
Buddy At Christmas
Buddy's Bio
Buddy's Birthday 2009
Buddy's Birthday Fan Trip 2009
'Buddy' Essen, 2009 (1)
'Buddy' Essen, MEH (2)
'Buddy' Essen, Vor-Premiere (3)
'Buddy' Essen, Off. Premiere (4)
'Buddy' Essen Bühnenbild (5)
'Buddy' Essen Offene Tür (6)
Buddy Fan David Agius, Malta
Buddy's  Mother Ella Holley
Buddy Holly En Español 1
Buddy Holly En Español 2
Buddy Holly En Español 3
Buddy Holly En Español 4
Buddy Holly En Español 5
Buddy Holly En Español 6
Buddy Holly En Español 7
Buddy Holly En Español 8
Buddy Holly En Español 9
Buddy Holly Photos
Buddy Holly In Solingen
Buddy Holly Timeline
Buddy Holly Trail  2009 - 01
Buddy Holly Trail  2009 - 02
Buddy Holly Trail   2009 - 03
Buddy Holly Trail   2009 - 04
Buddy Holly Trail   2009 - 05
Buddy Holly Trail  2009 - 06
Buddy Holly Trail   2009 - 07
Buddy Holly Trail   2009 - 08
Buddy Holly Trail  2009 - 09
Buddy Holly Trail   2009 - 10
Buddy Holly Trail  2009 - 11
Buddy Holly Trail 2016
Buddy In Birmingham 1958
Buddy Info Plus
Buddy In Liverpool 1958
Buddy + Hans On Air 2007
Buddy + Hans On Air  2008
Buddy Lyrics - A
Buddy Lyrics - B + C
Buddy Lyrics - D + E
Buddy Lyrics - F + G
Buddy Lyrics - H + I
Buddy Lyrics - J + K + L
Buddy Lyrics - M + N + O
Buddy Lyrics - P + Q + R
Buddy Lyrics - S + T
Buddy Lyrics - U  -  Z
Buddy On TV
Buddy Rock & Roll Show
Buddy Song List
Buddy's Plans
Buddy Statue Essen
Buddy Statue Lubbock
Canadian Fan Brian Wilson
CD's Down The Line - Rarities
CD's Memorial Collection
CD "Buddy Holly Reloaded"
CD  "Gotta Roll"
CD "Hollybilly"
CD "Listen to me" - Germany
CD "Not Fade Away"
CD  “Ohh!  Annie!”
CD "Stay All Night"
CD "WDP Buddy Holly" El Toro
Clear Lake 2007
Clear Lake 2008
Clear Lake 2008 - Larry
Clear Lake 2008 - Bob
Clear Lake 2008 - Shannon
Clear Lake - NY 2008 - Ian
Clear Lake 2010 - Bob
Clear Lake 2010 - Ian
Clear Lake 2010 - Clive
Clear Lake 2011 - Mary Kay
Clovis 2010 -  Mary Kay
Clovis 2010 Preview
Clovis Music Fest CD
Clovis 2009 Preview
Clovis 2008 Preview
Clovis 2008 - Suzie
Clovis 2008 - The Hagens 1
Clovis 2008 - The Hagens 2
Clovis 2008 - The Hagens 3
Clovis 2008 - Barry Holley
Clovis 2008 - John Mueller
Clovis 2008 - Johnny Rogers
Clovis 2007 - John Beecher
Clovis 2007 - John's Photos
Clovis 2007 - Sonny West
Clovis 2007 -  CNJ Reports
Clovis 2006/1 - John Beecher
Clovis 2006/2 - John Beecher
Clovis 2006/3 - John Beecher
Clovis 2006/4 - Alan Clark
Coroner's Report 1959
Crash Headlines 1959
Crash Site Fan Pics 1
Crash Site Fan Pics 2
Crickets 60's Pics
Crickets Last Performance
Dan Springall's Story
Dave Slater's Tribute CD
Dave Travis - Buddy's Song
Dortmund - Albert Lee
Earl Sinks Story - Part 1
Earl Sinks Story - Part 2
Echo - Buddy's First Love
Elvis Fans Visit Lubbock
Every Day - DLP - France
Fan Memories - 1 Berndt (D) (1)
Fan Memories - 2 Andreas (D)
Fan Memories - 3 Mike (USA)
Fan Memories - 4 Joachim (D)
Fan Memories - 5 Alfred (D)
Fan Memories - 6 Robert (UK)
Fan Memories - 7 Berndt (D) (2)
Fan Memories - 8 Rob (Canada)
Fan Memories - 9 Vic & Jack (UK)
Fan Memories - 10 Jan (NL)
Fan Memories - 11 (various)
Fan Memories - 12 (various)
Fan Memories - 13 Alan (UK)
Gerd Alzen 40 J. Memory Hits
German Buddy Fan Eberhard
Geoff Ashford's Tribute Song
George Oblin Story
Gerd's Ritchie Cassettes
Green Bay - T. Allsup Proclam.
Hans & Maria Elena on TV
Holley Family Photos
Hollywood Star For Buddy
Ian Wood Videos
Jac's Cover Song List
Jac's Bio
Jac's Cover Songs 1
Jac's Cover Songs 2
Jac's Cover Songs 3
Jac's Cover Songs 4
Jac's Cover Songs 5
Jac's Cover Songs 6
Japan CD - Rare
Jerry Naylor  1
Jerry Naylor 2
Jerry Naylor 3
Jerry Naylor 4
Jerry Naylor 5
Jerry Naylor 6
Jerry Naylor 2013
J.P. McDermott Story
Jump With Buddy Holly
Klaus - Crickets - Stars
Little Buddy Holly Photo
Liverpool Tribute 2009
Lubbock Photos 2006
Lubbock Photos 2008
Lubbock Photos 2010
Lubbock Photos 2011
My Buddy Holly Collection 1
My Buddy Holly Collection 2
My Buddy Holly Collection 3
My Buddy Holly Collection 4
My Buddy Holly Collection 5
My Buddy Holly Collection 6
My Buddy Holly Collection 7
My Buddy Holly Collection 8
My Buddy Holly Collection 9
My Buddy Holly Collection 10
My Buddy Holly Collection 11
My Buddy Holly Collection 12
My Buddy Holly Collection 13
Nesman Interview 2003
Peggy Sue's Book
Postcards To Buddy
Quotes About Buddy
Remembrance Ad
Riverside Monument
Rock 'n' Roll Museum
Rollercoaster Buddy LP+CD
Running Man 2-3-2008
Surf Ballroom Clear Lake IA
Surf Ballroom Poster 1959
Surf Ballroom 2016
Taryn - A True Buddy Fan
The 1959 WDP Film
The Cover Girls
The Final Day
The Last Tour Exhibition
The Shadows About Buddy
The Wieners Tribute Band NL
Till All Times End - Play
Tim M. Otto Story - 1
Tim M. Otto Story - 2
Tribute To Buddy
Up Up And Away
Visiting Buddy 2002
Visiting Buddy 2007 - 1
Visiting Buddy 2007 - 2
Walk Of Fame - Bill Griggs
Worcester Memorial Pics
Young Fan Siobhan Daly
Xmas All Year Long
V. I. P. ' s

                                       Winter Dance Party Logo

                   SURF BALLROOM - Clear Lake IA

The crash of '59 claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson.  The year was 1959 and the "The Winter Dance Party Tour" was under way.  They had just finished performing at the Surf Ballroom on a cold winter's night in Clear Lake, Iowa.  They were bound for Moorhead, MN.  They never made it. 

The tour bus developed heating problems and broke down while in route to Clear Lake Iowa. Other means of transportation had to be arranged.  Carl Bunch, the drummer for Buddy Holly, developed frostbite and had to be taken off the bus and hospitalized.  That would be the last time he saw Buddy.  The tour bus finally arrived at the Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake at 7:30 pm. They were met at the door by the manager, Carroll Anderson.  They were all cold, tired and disgusted.  There were 1200 teenagers waiting outside in sub zero temperatures eager to pay $1.25 to see their idols.  The majority of them were chaperoned by their parents. 

Copyright_Bob_Hale.jpgBob Hale pic from the Surf, 1959, not from that final day.

The show started on time at 8 pm.  Bob Hale would MC the event.  Buddy didn’t have enough money to replace Carl Bunch on the drums so he swapped guitar for drums and back again during his performance.  He closed the first half of the show at 9:30 pm.  Buddy had had enough of the unheated bus and needed some much need sleep and clean laundry.  With the help of Carroll Anderson he chartered a plane for himself and his guys.  The flight cost $108.00 total.  Only three people could be accommodated.

Jerry Dwyer, from Mason City Iowa lived in Clear Lake Iowa.  He was the owner of the flight service.  At the time of the call he didn’t know who the passengers were going to be.  A young 21 year old pilot named Roger Peterson, who worked for Jerry Dwyer's Flying Service, agreed to fly them.  He had been a pilot for four years.  It was later discovered that his records noted a hearing disability and a tendency to panic during night flights when forced to rely solely on his instruments.  That night the weather was bad, with flying advisories out.  Only instrument trained pilots could handle, but the Dwyer planes weren't licensed for instrument flying, plus Peterson had recently failed his instrument test.

                                                                                 Pilot Roger Peterson

Buddy called his wife Maria in New York at 10:30 pm.  He didn’t mention the impending flight.  Maria Elena had a premonition of his death in a plane crash and he didn’t want to worry her unnecessarily.  After the show was over the word got around that Buddy had chartered a plane and everyone wanted a seat.  Originally scheduled to fly with Buddy was Waylon Jennings and Tommy Alsup.

The Big Bopper came to Waylon Jennings and said he had the flu and was very sick and tired and was unable to sleep.  He asked if he could take his place on the plane.  Waylon said if it was OK with Buddy it was OK with him. Ritchie Valens asked Tommy Alsup three or four times if he could fly in his place after he heard the Bopper was flying.  Alsup said no. 

Before leaving to the airfield Buddy had Waylon get them some hotdogs.  They were eating hotdogs and talking as Buddy sat in a chair and leaning up against a wall in a cane-bottom chair.  Buddy started laughing at him and said, "So you're not going with us tonight on the plane, huh? Well, I hope your ol' bus freezes up. It's 40-below out there and you're gonna get awful cold."  So Waylon said, "Well, I hope your ol' plane crashes."  Waylon was nineteen or twenty years old at the time.  This friendly banter of friends would haunt Waylon for years.  Waylon was always afraid that someone was going to find out that he said that.  To make matters worse he blamed himself and felt guilty that he was still alive.  He would later name a son after Holly.


Carroll Anderson, Buddy and the Big Bopper were pulled up at the back door in a station wagon ready to go to the airport.  Alsup got on the bus and packed his stuff in a little bag and carried them to the station wagon.  He got in the back seat with the Bopper.  Before they left Buddy asked Alsup to go back inside the Surf Ballroom and check to see if everything got loaded.  Buddy had never asked that before.  When Alsup went back in he saw Ritchie Valens signing an autograph.  Ritchie asked Tommy again if he could go in his place.  Tommy said if you want to go that bad, he reached into his pocket and pulled out a fifty-cent piece and flipped it in the air and said call it.  Ritchie called “heads”.  Tommy said “your on” so Ritchie walked out to get his clothes off the bus. 

Alsup walked back out and told Buddy that Ritchie was going in his place.  Buddy asked him why?  Tommy said they flipped for it.  Tommy told Buddy that his mother had sent him a letter to general delivery in Fargo and would Buddy pick it up for him at the post office?  Buddy asked Tommy for some ID.  Tommy pulled his wallet out and started taking his driver’s license out.  Buddy reached over, took the whole wallet and stuck in his coat pocket.

On February 3, 1959, at 12:15 am.  Carroll Anderson, his wife and son along with the three tired musicians arrived at Madison City Airport.  After they each paid their $36.00 fare Buddy, Ritchie and the Big Bopper, accompanied by Jerry Dwyer, made their way across the tarmac towards the waiting Bonanza.  On the plane Buddy sat in the front seat as Ritchie and the Bopper sat in back.  The weather bulletins predicted a storm front, 150 miles away, directly in front of their proposed flight path to Fargo, North Dakota.

At 12:40 am, the plane taxied into the night headed towards runway 17 where it paused for an instrument and equipment check.  Roger Peterson was contacted by the tower and asked for his flight plan.  Peterson said he would give his flight plan when he was airborne.  The normal procedure at that time was to activate your flight plan after you took off.


                                        Crash site

At 12:50 am. Jerry Dwyer watched his plane take off.  He climbed up to the airport control tower and attempted to contact Peterson by radio.  He had his eyes fixed on the tiny white tail lights which seemed to be gradually drifting downward.  He said to the man in the tower that the plane was going down.  The man responded by saying that it was an optical illusion.  Dwyer said that he’d been flying since he was 13 years old and had watched a lot of airplanes.  He thought it was going down and hoped he was wrong.  Dwyer went home and called the tower at Fargo, North Dakota a number of times throughout the night.  He was later told that no Bonanza had landed there and that no Bonanza was going to land because of a blizzard that limited visibility to less then ten feet.  He knew he had a problem.

The plane crashed in a cornfield only 5 miles from the airport within four minutes after take off.  Witnesses adjacent to the crash site reported hearing a plane in trouble and seeing low flying airplane lights at approximately 1 am.  The 12 year old Beach Bonanza, N3794N was torn apart like tissue paper as it hurtled to earth at 160 mile an hour.

At 7:15 am, Mr. Dwyer called Carroll Anderson.  He told Anderson that his plane never checked in at the first checkpoint in Alexander, Minnesota.  He said he was going up and would check back with him as soon as he heard anything.  At 9:35 am, Dwyer flew out of Madison City Airport and took the same route as Roger Peterson to see if he could find any wreckage.  As he flew, he could see ahead of him what seemed to be plane wreckage.  It was thought to be a hog house.  As they descended they circled around and confirmed the plane wreck.  He called the sheriff’s office.

Bob Hale later broadcasted, on air, the tragic plane crash as reported to him by Carroll Anderson.  The plane had crashed while in route to Fargo, North Dakota, for that night’s performance of the Winter Dance Tour.


Sheriff Jerry Allen was first on scene.  He observed the aircraft up against a fence line with three bodies lying outside of the plane.  Ritchie was lying approximately 15 feet away from the plane.  To the left of the wreckage was Buddy Holly.  About 40 feet beyond the fence line was the Big Bopper.  The only thing the Bopper had on was his pants.  The crash tore everything off him, shoes, socks and coat.  The pilot was found wrapped up inside the mangled aircraft.

In the pocket of the Bopper's light-blue cotton pants, they discovered some dice, his wedding ring, a guitar pick and $202.53 in cash. They also found the Bopper's briefcase, which contained a half-empty pint of whisky, some aspirin, a hairbrush and mirror, some ties a guitar strap and fragments of song lyrics he hadn't yet set to music.

The Corner’s office arrived on scene.  Jerry Allen escorted Doctor Ralf Smiley out to examine the location and take photographs of the scene.  They released the bodies to a funeral home in Clear Lake.  The pilot’s body was taken to Mason City, Mercy Hospital and an autopsy was performed which was required by Federal regulations.  There were no autopsies performed on the others.

After the bodies had been removed, the Civil Aviation Board stepped in and investigators spent three days sifting through the wreckage.  They laid the blame firmly on Roger Peterson.  Referring to his history of poor instrument reading, lack of concentration, over confidence, hearing disability, lack of experience, and for ignoring the bad weather warnings.

The rest of the tour group was sleeping on the bus and completely unaware of the tragedy as they headed for the next venue.  As the bus pulled up to Moorehead, Minnesota, Waylon woke up and Tommy Alsup sat across from him.  The tour manager walked out to the tour bus and told Waylon he needed to talk to him.  Waylon felt something was wrong and said, “no”, and told Tommy to go.  Tommy and the manager walked into the lobby of the building.  Tommy saw that the television was on and there was a picture of the Big Bopper on the TV.  He thought they were plugging the show.  He asked the desk clerk for a room next to Buddy Holly.  The desk clerk asked Tommy, “Haven’t you heard?  Those guys got killed in a plane crash down in Iowa.”  Tommy reported back to Waylon and the guys and told them “the boys” didn’t make it and were killed in a plane crash.

Carl (with hat on), 2002

Still laid up in the hospital Carl Bunch was told of the awful news by telephone.  Hospital staff came in to his room with a wheelchair and told him he had a phone call.  They rolled him down the hall to a pay phone.  His mother was on the phone.  She asked him what he was going to do now.  He responded by saying he would thaw out and join the crew.  She said, “No, you don’t understand.  Buddy, Ritchie and the Bopper were all killed last night in a plane crash.”  He cried.  It was hard to believe that those guys were dead.

Waylon called home later that day.  Everybody back in his home town of Lubbock thought that he had died.  It was reported that Buddy Holly and his band had died in the plane crash.  Alsup’s wallet was found at the crash site and it was reported they found five ID’s and only four bodies.  Alsup called home and told his mother that he was not on the plane.


                              Buddy's grave

Buddy Holly’s funeral was on February 7, 1959.  It was held at 2 pm. at the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. The Rev. Ben D. Johnson, Pastor, officiated. He had performed the wedding for Buddy only six months before.  Burial was held in the City of Lubbock Cemetery under the direction of Sanders Funeral Home.  Buddy’s wife did not attend because she was too distraught.  She has never visited Buddy’s grave.  Maria was about a month and a half pregnant at the time, but she miscarried shortly after Buddy died.

The Big Bopper’s funeral was held at Broussard’s Funeral home in Beaumont, Texas, on Friday, February 6, 1959, at 2 pm.  He was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Beaumont.  From Germany, US Army private Elvis Presley sent a wreath of yellow roses encircling a guitar.  Ritchie Valens was buried February 7, 1959, in San Fernando, California,  Mission Cemetery.

A memorial service for Roger Peterson was held at Redeemer Lutheran Church, Ventura, Iowa on February 5. A funeral was held the next day at St. Paul Lutheran Church in his hometown of Alta; Peterson was buried in Buena Vista Memorial Cemetery in nearby Storm Lake.

In 1988, Ken Paquette, a Wisconsin fan of the 1950s era, erected a stainless steel monument depicting a steel guitar and a set of three records bearing the names of each of the three performers.  It is located on private farmland, about one quarter mile west of the intersection of 315th Street and Gull Avenue, approximately eight miles north of Clear Lake.  This is where the plane crash occurred. He also created a similar stainless steel monument to the three near the Riverside Ballroom in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  Dwyer's Flying Service, still in operation today, consisted basically of owner Jerry Dwyer.

Crash site monument.

The plane crash claimed the lives of Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens,

J.P. "Big Bopper" Richardson and the pilot, Roger Peterson.

Three of Rock and Roll's most promising performers were gone. 

Their tragedy was memorialized for generations to come by Don McLean

in his classic music parable, “American Pie,” "The Day the Music Died."

Source: Buddy Holly - The Final Day